They say a mother always knows, and on this day, that I was set to meet my maker, this proved to be true. Inside the Healer’s hut, Njoro was breathing fire. He held me by my collar with such force that my shirt ripped. “Don’t spill blood in my house,” The Great Healer barked when Njoro raised his panga, and my life was spared for a heartbeat.
I had said earlier that the men of Churo Village are brave men. We do not run and hide, we simply face the music. But at this moment, I looked at Beatrice and realized that things would only get worse for her. Mama Linda would not spare her, and neither would Njoro after my revelation.
“Is there nothing you can do?” I implored Mama Linda.
“God has spoken, it is now out of my hands,” she chirped casually, you would have thought the matter in question was not life or death.
“Only a coward begs women to save him and only a fool looks at another man’s wife. You are a coward and a fool and the world will not miss you,” Njoro barked while sharpening his panga on a large stone behind the Great Healer’s house.
The magnitude of it all finally hit Beatrice because she started crying uncontrollably. “This is what happens when you love a coward and a fool,” Njoro barked at her while forcing me to my knees, next to the stone.
As he did Mama Linda broke into prayer. “Abibibi-shantiriba-bashi. Today we put the evil that has been tormenting our house back to the earth, where it came. Enkai, please cleanse the house of Njoro. Mulungu, make it whole again so that it may be an example to your children.”
My neck was now feeling the cold and unforgiving surface of the stone. Any minute now my head would part from my body. As the proverbial white light raced towards me, I closed my eyes and said a small prayer. I thanked God for allowing me to experience the love of my mother and father; And the free spirit of Beatrice—and for giving me the strength to have been able to work for Njoro and Mama Linda and then I waited to meet my maker.
But that moment never came, instead, out of nowhere, The Great Healer’s voice shrieked. “God has just spoken to me,” he stopped to catch his breath. “Good Njoroge, you must not stain your hands with blood. You must forgive this evil and get out of here with a clean conscience,” he added.
“Abibibi-shantiriba-bashi. Blood, blood, blood must flow. We must rid ourselves of this evil. These are Ngai’s words.” Mama Linda chanted.
They went back and forth like this with The Great Healer for a while. This would go on to be a great debate in Churo Village and the drinking dens of Kabarnet town; with some saying that their Gods were at war. While others said that the cries of Beatrice had made The Great Healer have mercy on Katana, yet others insisted that it was not her cries but her round breasts.
“I have a portion that will rid you of the two, without the bad omen of blood,” The Great Healer barked. “But it is a powerful portion and you must be as far away from my house as possible,” he added. “Beatrice too?” Njoro asked disturbed. “Let the evil go,” Mama Linda murmured in his ear as The Great Healer dragged both of us to his hut once more.
There, we found my mother, Sara, waiting. The men in Churo Village do not cry but I had a watery substance on my cheeks and I decided that one of the Healers portions must have spilled on me. “I saw your distress, saw the painted cat, and heard what Mama Linda was doing, and I knew this wouldn’t end well.” My mother said with concern.
“We have no time,” she added. “Your uncle is waiting for you in Dol Dol. I have packed some food for you on Njoro’s bicycle. Follow the moon and the sun and you should be there in three days.” Njoro’s bike? I wanted to ask but the sun was already going down. We climbed on the bike with Beatrice and started creating distance between us and Churo Village.